After scoring four runs over the previous three games, five runs felt like an offensive eruption for the Tacoma Rainiers.
It was certainly enough offense for a win.
Tacoma lashed 12 hits on the way to a 5-2 victory over the Sacramento River Cats on Wednesday night. It improved Tacoma’s record to 40-32, and assured the team of another day in first place in the Pacific-North division.
“It feels like it’s been a long time since we scored five runs,” said Tacoma manager Pat Listach.
The Rainiers got on the board against Sacramento starter Ty Blach in the third inning. Zach Shank led off with a line-drive single to center, and Tyler Smith doubled him to third base.
Second and third with no outs has not been a guaranteed scoring situation for the Rainiers lately, but this time they got both runners home. Boog Powell’s groundout scored Shank, and Smith was able to race home on a passed ball.
Shank and Smith struck again in the third inning with two outs. Shank singled sharply to left field, took second on a wild pitch, and scored on Smith’s double down the third-base line.
Mike Zunino got in on the action in the fifth, pulling his 15th home run of the season down the left field line. Two batters later, Daniel Robertson tripled home Patrick Kivlehan to make it 5-0.
The offense made a winner out of Tacoma starter Joe Wieland, who lasted five innings and gave up two runs — and made one crucial pitch.
Sacramento scored two runs in the fifth to make it 5-2, and the River Cats had the bases loaded with one out and Miguel Olivo at the plate. It looked like Wieland was on the ropes, but he got Olivo to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
“That was a big double play with the bases loaded,” Listach said. “That was the last hitter Wieland was going to face, and he got it.”
Tacoma relievers David Rollins, Casey Coleman, and Blake Parker combined to pitch four scoreless innings, with Parker picking up his 13th save.
Reliever Jonathan Aro reported after being optioned to Tacoma by the Mariners on Tuesday night. To make room on the roster, left-handed reliever Kraig Sitton was transferred to Double-A Jackson (Tennessee). … After starting the season at Jackson, Sitton was promoted to Tacoma on May 3 and appeared in 15 games, going 0-2 with a 3.20 ERA. … Sitton allowed one run during his first 12 games for Tacoma, and had a 0.51 ERA before giving up six runs in his last two innings pitched.
Zach Lee (7-5, 4.89 ERA with Oklahoma City) will make his Mariners organization debut when he starts for Tacoma at 7:05 p.m. Thursday. Sacramento is expected to start Adalberto Mejia (1-0, 0.00).
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.